Search Syntax Needed For All Occurences of Grk "Theos" without Definite Article

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Posts 10
Steve Adams | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, May 13 2012 3:43 PM

Hello,

I am wanting to do a search of the entire NT Greek Text (have both UBS4 and NA27) of the New Testament to find all occurrences where the Greek word "theos" in all its forms is found without a definite article. This is to help with a booklet I am writing on answering Jehovah's Witnesses who translate John 1:1 to say that the word was "a god". I'm looking to find an easy way to list all the verses that have no definite article before theos that their Bible translates simply as "God" as opposed to "a god" to show that translation principles do not require that John 1:1 be translated that the word was "a god". Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Steve Adams

 

Posts 1649
Room4more | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2012 4:07 PM

Steve Adams:

Hello,

I am wanting to do a search of the entire NT Greek Text (have both UBS4 and NA27) of the New Testament to find all occurrences where the Greek word "theos" in all its forms is found without a definite article. This is to help with a booklet I am writing on answering Jehovah's Witnesses who translate John 1:1 to say that the word was "a god". I'm looking to find an easy way to list all the verses that have no definite article before theos that their Bible translates simply as "God" as opposed to "a god" to show that translation principles do not require that John 1:1 be translated that the word was "a god". Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Steve Adams

Personally, I wasn't aware that they did this, I'll have to ask them when they come by later in the week.

U can do seach  'morph' using  - θεός ANDNOT ὁ - I used the NA27[same w/UBS4] and got 6 verses. you can then export them to a Passage List...[after u view the pic if this is not what you are wanting just let us know....]

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2012 4:54 PM

Steve Adams:
I am wanting to do a search of the entire NT Greek Text (have both UBS4 and NA27) of the New Testament to find all occurrences where the Greek word "theos" in all its forms is found without a definite article.

Welcome Big Smile

A Morph Search can find 67 verses that have θεός without a definite article in the verse:

lemma:θεός ANDNOT lemma:ὁ 

One Syntax Search idea is finding all word groups with θεός then save results in a Passage List, then find all word groups with ὁ and θεός (in agreement with each other), which can be saved in another Passage List:

Then create a Passage List to show differences, which can be compared with Morph Search (to verify more verses found):

Noticed Passage List of Differences includes θεός in a prepositional phrase that can include "the" in translation (e.g. Matthew 4:4) since a preposition is like the article for identification.  Noticed difference passage list has 225 verses to research.

Note: Passage List difference does eliminate verses like John 1:1 that have θεός more than once with difference in articular usage.

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 1649
Room4more | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2012 5:00 PM

OOPs! forgot the 'word' lemma:xxx mybad. thanks, ks4j.

Another is using the manuscript and not the lemma ; θεὸς ANDNOT τὸν  - which gives 228verses UBS4 and NA27.

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Posts 10
Steve Adams | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2012 5:10 PM

Thanks for this very helpful information. I had exported a passage list of all uses of theos and exported it to excel and was just manually going through and deleting all (many) with a definite article.

 

I realise that the lemma:θεός ANDNOT lemma: will only pick up verses where there is no definite article ANYWHERE in the sentence (whether they are related to theos or another word) but still 67 occurrences is pretty massive when the average Jehovah's Witness would presume that the absence of the definite article would only apply to references to Jesus such as John 1:1 - even though there another 5 cases in John 1 where there is no article where they are happy to translate as "God" rather than "a god". These other verses are John 1:6, 12, 13, 18 (twice in verse 18).

The 67 is a great start but I might keep on in excel deleting ones where the article pertains directly to theos. That way, I will find even more than 67. I'll post the list when I'm done if that's helpful.

Also if anyone would be interested in an electronic copy of this booklet about proving that Jesus is God using only Watchtower Resources, please let me know and I would be glad to e-mail you a copy.

 

Thanks Again!

Steve Adams

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2012 5:17 PM

Steve Adams:
Thanks for this very helpful information. I had exported a passage list of all uses of theos and exported it to excel and was just manually going through and deleting all (many) with a definite article.

From a Syntax Search, looks like 949 results need deletion where ὁ and θεός are in agreement with each other.

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 1649
Room4more | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2012 5:41 PM

Steve, just as a side note, if u r wanting to develop a better understanding of the ‘Jehovah’ Witness position, then we must first realize that we are ALL ‘Jehovah’s’ witness’s.

-next using one, or maybe a few verse to prove that Jesus is God by these verse(s) is really a quest. Especially when Jn 1.1 says nothing about Christ but speaks of/towards God.

-finding a verse that is an explicit teaching that Jesus is God is yet another quest in and of itself, namelt because there is none.

-if you want to further discuss this, there is a discussion already started that may enhance what you are attempting to do…. https://faithlife.com/discussion-of-the-trinity/activity

Hope this helps...

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Posts 10
Steve Adams | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2012 5:54 PM

Thanks Room4More for your input. This booklet I'm producing is not all about John 1:1. It is merely a very small part of it. Thanks also for the link. I would love to contribute to that discussion.

 

As a very small starting point, I think Isaiah 9:6 and John 20:28 are a good start for explicit statements on Jesus as God.

Posts 582
Gary O'Neal | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2012 6:06 PM

Steve,

Check out this post - http://community.logos.com/forums/t/22721.aspx?PageIndex=1-- brighter minds than mine discuss the different ways to construct this search with the benefits/problems.

 

πάντα εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ ποιεῖτε

Posts 10
Steve Adams | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2012 6:18 PM

Thanks Gary. Found some good stuff there. Much easier than the method I was using!

 

Steve

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2012 7:20 PM

Personally living and learning: using Syntax Search found 241 results that have θεός without a definite article in a word group:

Using Syntax Search found 138 results that have θεός without a specifier (article, preposition) in a word group:

Keep Smiling Smile

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, May 13 2012 7:31 PM

Steve Adams:
I realise that the lemma:θεός ANDNOT lemma: will only pick up verses where there is no definite article ANYWHERE in the sentence (whether they are related to theos or another word) but still 67 occurrences is pretty massive

A better approximation is  lemma:θεός ANDNOT (lemma:ὁ BEFORE 1 word lemma:θεός)   -->  258 verses out of 1156 verses in which lemma:θεός appears.

Note that small g  god is meant in about 15 of the 1156 verses and they appear with and without the article. You can search  (god, gods) with Match Case  in ESV  or use (<ln12.22> , <ln12.25>) in NA27 Int  -  these are translated "god of this world" or "other gods" or "a god" or "the god".

Capital G God is <LN 12.1> and is in Jn 1:1, both with and without the article.

Clearly,  you can't establish a precedence for translation based on the absence of the article; the meaning is determined by the context.

Dave
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Posts 232
AndyTheGreek | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 14 2012 1:19 AM

Be aware that these searches don't seem to take the Greek case into account. There is a difference between an anarthrous nominative and, say, a genitive without the article. If your booklet takes the view all anarthrous forms should be translated consistently, then it will be inaccurate because the Greek cases do have a bearing on this...

"even though there another 5 cases in John 1 where there is no article where they are happy to translate as "God" rather than "a god". These other verses are John 1:6121318 (twice in verse 18)."

In the example you cite:

V6 - "God" is genitive 
V12 - "God" is genitive 
V13 - "God" is genitive 
V18 - "God" is accusative and "god" is nominative

None of the first 3  verses are grammatically related to Jn 1:1c and they really don't help to determine what translations are valid for that verse. The three genitive verses can all be translated as "God" in the absence of the article because the genitive case has a definite force of its own.

The anarthrous "god" in V18 is translated consistent with V1c in the NWT.

The accusative "God" in V18 is an interesting case - in private correspondence with Dr Stanley Porter I asked him if he felt that the 'usual' definite translation was correct. After some discussion, he concluded that it was probably intended (by John)  to be qualitative rather than definite, but I think most translations connect this with Exodus 33:20 and so regard the lack of the article there to be insignificant.

Logos resource that discuss the use of and omission of the article include:

http://www.logos.com/product/6874/exegetical-fallacies-second-edition

http://www.logos.com/product/2802/idioms-of-the-greek-new-testament-2nd-ed

of which I find Porter's Idioms the most instructive. Both conclude that an anarthrous (nominative)  noun either means "a member of a class" or is qualitative.

Smyth's grammar (soon to be released in Logos in a collection, which I hope they break up: http://www.logos.com/product/4679/biblical-languages-reference-grammars-and-introductions) discusses the anarthrous nouns in section: 1129 where his example is very like Jn 1:1c where he states "theos (god), ho theos (the particular God)."

Also http://www.logos.com/product/6555/the-united-bible-societies-new-testament-handbook-series discusses Jn 1:1c and is worth looking at.

Without commenting on your project as a whole (because I would break Logos' forum rules about not discussing theology) I think this particular aspect of your paper isn't that valuable. That an anarthrous predicate nominative preceding the verb can be translated indefinitely can be seen from John 6:60 and other examples. Porter, Wallace and others agree that 'Colwell's rule' doesn't help with Jn 1:1.

Many Bibles that I have examined translate the article inconsistently...

 

 

Posts 1649
Room4more | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 14 2012 5:35 PM

Steve, when all is said and done, just be careful that you do note re-write the Scriptures just to prove a point. I.E: 1:18…

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Posts 10
Steve Adams | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, May 14 2012 6:59 PM

Hello all,

 

I just wanted to say thanks so much for all of your valuable contributions. I appreciate too that many have been loving enough to ensure that in my passion to make a point, that I too don't use a false premise to make a point.

 

My purpose in asking this question applies to a very minor section of the book that I am writing. While I have done my Greek studies in my Bachelor of Theology, I don't consider myself an expert. The only outcome I was hoping to reach from my request on this forum was to establish case that the absence of the article in John 1:1 does not require that it be translated "a god". I realise that both the translation of "a god" and "God" are gramatically possible and thus the witness of the rest of Scripture concerning Jesus would determine the choice of translation.

 

So in the end, I was never hoping to centre the Biblical case for the divinity of Christ around John 1:1 or the use or the use of theos throughout the NT. It is my intention to present the case for the divinity of Christ from the Bible as a whole. My premise is that if the divinity of Christ can be established from the Bible, when one approaches the interpretive options of  verses such as John 1:1, they can confidently translate as "God".

 

Thanks again for all your suggestions and insights. May God bless you all richly for helping a brother!

 

Steve Adams

 

 

Posts 824
GregW | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 15 2012 6:36 AM

Hi - in case you are interested, Wallace has a useful comment on this verse on P41 of his book, regarding the use of the predicate nominative and explaining why it should be translated "the Word was God".  If you've got this resource, here is the link to the relevant page. 


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Posts 277
Ergatees | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, May 15 2012 10:50 AM

Hi, Steve,

if you write me at hoalithinos at yahoo.com I can mail you a pdf which discusses the question of John 1:1 and the Witnesses' views on it. This topic has been covered in many grammars and theological articles in the past. It may be of some help to you.

It takes a lot of patience and love to talk with these people. I wish you the best in your endeavors.

Ergatees

Posts 1649
Room4more | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 16 2012 8:54 AM

Steve Adams:

Hello,

I am wanting to do a search of the entire NT Greek Text (have both UBS4 and NA27) of the New Testament to find all occurrences where the Greek word "theos" in all its forms is found without a definite article. This is to help with a booklet I am writing on answering Jehovah's Witnesses who translate John 1:1 to say that the word was "a god". I'm looking to find an easy way to list all the verses that have no definite article before theos that their Bible translates simply as "God" as opposed to "a god" to show that translation principles do not require that John 1:1 be translated that the word was "a god". Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Steve Adams

Steve,

I spoke with the local callers of the JW persuasion, and they informed me that they do not make the association of Jn 1:1 as the ‘word’ was “a god”. Adding that if they did this then that would mean that there are 'two' gods.

Could you site your source for me. Thanks.

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Posts 277
Ergatees | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 16 2012 9:32 AM

Dear Room4more,

That was a most interesting comment you shared by those with whom you spoke. I am sure a knowledgeable Christian has pointed out to them the logical conclusion of the rendering "a god" in John 1:1 in the NWT Bible. 

I know this is not the place for such discussions but personally I have found that these people don't always tell all they know when dealing with informed Christians, so people need to be aware of this and secondly, it is not local JWs who can speak officially for their HQ in Brooklyn. One has to go to the appendices of their translation or to their other publications to get the facts.

Sincerely yours in our Lord,

E.

Posts 1649
Room4more | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 16 2012 10:14 AM

Thanks, Ergatees.

But a blanket statement that presents any faith on the assumption that all affiliate to an assigned persuasion, lacks knowledge of the same said persuasion. I agree with you in that we should not account any one word as the totality of all, thus being said, any paraphernalia pointed at any persuasion should approach that persuasion in its entirety, as a whole. As a side note, I really do not think that they would lie to me, having been acquainted with them for some time, and have had numerous conversations as well, [but they could have.../?]....

I did not ask them if this was the commonality of their persuasion, but I will when I see them next if this is the general consensus. And if I look long enough I may have the papers that I was sent some years back from the HQ at Brooklyn, which I do not think has changed much.

Thanks for u’r comment.

 

 

 

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